Aug 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) celebrates with teammates after defeating the Colorado Rockies at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Power Rankings: Week 18

The Braves and the Indians made a jump, and there was a change at the top of the rankings as the Pirates knocked the Cardinals from their perch.

Here are the rankings for Week 18:

RANKING/TEAM/RECORD
LAST WK/CHANGE
THOUGHTS
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-44)
3                   ^ 2 The Pirates had a 6-2 week (including taking 4 of 5 from the Cardinals) to take over 1st place in the N.L. Central.
2. Boston Red Sox (68-45)
2                    – Boston, who recently acquired Jake Peavy to bolster its starting rotation, has the most wins in baseball (68), and a 1 game lead over the Rays for 1st place in the A.L. East.
3. Atlanta Braves (67-45)
6                   ^ 3 After losing Tim Hudson for the season, Atlanta has won 10 straight to open up a 12.5 game lead over the Nationals for 1st place in the N.L. East.
4. Tampa Bay Rays (66-45)
4                    – The sizzling Rays have been flip flopping with Boston between 2nd and 1st place in the A.L. East, but are in great Playoff position (4.5 games clear of the field for the 1st Wild Card spot).
5. Detroit Tigers (64-45)
7                   ^ 2
In advance of today’s Jhonny Peralta suspension due to his involvement with Biogensis, streaking Detroit (9-1 over their last 10) dealt Avisail Garcia to Boston for shortstop Jose Iglesias.
6. St. Louis Cardinals (65-45)
1                   – 5 The Cardinals have gone 3-7 over their last 10 games to fall 1.5 games behind the Pirates for 1st place in the N.L. Central.
7. Oakland Athletics (64-47) 5                   – 2 The A’s have lost 4 of 5 (including 2 to the Rangers), and have seen their lead in the A.L. West shrink to 2.5 games.
 

8. Cleveland Indians (62-49)



11                 ^ 3 The Indians are on fire.  They’ve gone 9-1 to take a half game lead in the race for the second Wild Card.
9. Texas Rangers (62-50)
12                 ^ 3 Texas closed within 2.5 games of Oakland for 1st place in the N.L. West and a half game of Cleveland for the 2nd Wild Card.  Today was dominated by the report that the Rangers were “blindsided” by the fact that Nelson Cruz accepted his 50 game suspension due to his involvement with Biogenesis.  Cruz will be eligible to return for the Playoffs (assuming the Rangers are there).
10. Los Angeles Dodgers (61-49) 10                  – The Dodgers stayed hot, winning 4 straight to close the week.  However, they lost both Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig to injury last night.  Puig may be able to play through his thumb injury, but Ramirez may be out for a bit with an injured shoulder.
11. Cincinnati Reds (61-51) 8                   – 3 The Reds were outscored 31-13 over the weekend while dropping 2 of 3 to the Cardinals, but they still have a 4.5 game lead in the race for the 2nd Wild Card.
12. Baltimore Orioles (61-51)
9                   – 3 Baltimore had a .500 week, but dropped behind the Indians in the race for the 2nd Wild Card (they’re 1.5 games back).
13. Kansas City Royals (56-52) 16                ^ 3 The Royals, who are 4.5 games behind red hot Cleveland for the 2nd Wild Card spot, took 2 of 3 from the David Wright-less, sun challenged Mets over the weekend.
14. New York Yankees (57-53)
13                – 1 The A-Rod mess is stomping into the Yankees’ world tonight, Derek Jeter just hit the DL (again), CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes are continuing to perform terribly, and the Yankees are slowly falling out of contention.
15. Arizona Diamondbacks (56-55) 14                – 1 The Diamondbacks, who have fallen out of it in the N.L. West and trail the Reds by 4.5 games for the 2nd Wild Card spot, traded Ian Kennedy to the Padres for Joe Thatcher and a minor leaguer right before the trade deadline.
16. Washington Nationals (54-57)
15                – 1 Despite going 6-4 over their last 10, the Nationals have fallen 12.5 games behind Atlanta for 1st place in the N.L. East (they’re 6.5 behind Cincinnati for the 2nd Wild Card).  Washington hosts the Braves for 3 starting tonight.
17. Los Angeles Angels (51-59)
19               ^ 2 The Angels, 3-7 over their last 10, have been beset by injuries.  Over the last 5 days, Albert Pujols, Peter Bourjos, and Jason Vargas all landed on the 15-day DL.
18. Seattle Mariners (52-59)
18                – Seattle is getting another Cy Young worthy season from Felix Hernandez.  The 27 year old has a 2.30 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 166 K’s in 160.2 IP.
19. San Diego Padres (52-60)
24               ^ 5 The Padres have gone 7-3 over their last 10 games to vault into 3rd place in the N.L. West.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (51-60)
20                – R.A. Dickey‘s nightmare April has turned into a nightmare season (he’s 8-11 with a 4.66 ERA). 111 games into the season, hot preseason pick Toronto is the only team that’s completely out of it in the A.L. East.
21. Colorado Rockies (52-61)
17               – 4 The Rockies had a 1-6 week to fall behind San Diego into 4th place in the N.L. West.
22. San Francisco Giants (49-61)
25              ^ 3 San Francisco remains mired in last place in the N.L. West. If they have a run in them, they’d be wise to start it now.  10 of their next 13 games are against Milwaukee, Washington, and Miami.
23. New York Mets (49-60) 23                – The Mets had a brutal week injury wise.  First, they lost closer Bobby Parnell, then reliever Josh Edgin.  The worst loss, though, was team captain and main offensive threat David Wright.  He landed on the DL with a strained right hamstring.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (50-61)
22               – 2 The Phillies are in the midst of their worst stretch since 1999, having gone 1-13 over their last 14 games.
25. Minnesota Twins (48-60)
26               – 1 Minnesota swept the hapless Astros over the weekend.  They hit the road tonight for a 7 game road trip through Kansas City and Chicago (A.L.)
26. Chicago Cubs (49-62) 21               – 5 The Cubs had a poor week, but they were able to shed a decent chunk of Alfonso Soriano‘s contract when they dealt him to the Yankees.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (47-64)
27                – They hoped to deal him before the trade deadline, but under-performing starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo injured himself before Milwaukee had the chance.
28. Miami Marlins (43-67) 29              ^ 1 Miami, last in the majors in runs scored, batting average, OBP, and slugging, have yet to get a boost from recently promoted top prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick.
29. Chicago White Sox (40-69)
28               – 1
The Sox have dropped 10 games in a row to unseat the Marlins as the 2nd worst team in baseball.  They welcome the Yankees and the Alex Rodriguez sideshow to town tonight.
30. Houston Astros (36-74)

30                 – The Astros’ run differential (-162) has reached historically bad proportions.
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